Abominable (2019)

I do love an animation – anyone that says that animations are only for children don’t know anything. In China, young Yi (Chloe Bennet) spends her life very busy during her Summer holidays, until she finds a yeti on her roof – yep, a yeti.

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These magical creatures have been living in a world where their existence is unknown, but sadly this young yeti has been captured. In a manic quick escape from the get-go of the film beginning, he ends up in a busy city in China where he finds solace staring at a sign of Mount Everest – his home. Yi and two friends, Peng (Albert Tsai) and Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor), venture on a journey to return this yeti back to his home. Their bond between the teenagers and the yeti is wonderful, cute and hilarious.

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‘Abominable’ is a film riddled with meaning, just alike to so many other animations. This animation screams the meaning of family. But it doesn’t feel overdone, it’s perfect in its meaning. With a yeti that doesn’t speak but says so much at the same time and Yi having a complicated present, they find each other at the perfect time for this magical story.

All the meanwhile, the yeti is being hunted down and wanted into captivity once again. This seems to be another theme of the movie – a subtle hint to look after our animals, to look after our planet. In its own beautiful way, the yeti needs looking after, needs to stay in its home – but the film is adventurous and creative in its execution where this doesn’t feel forced.

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This film is magical and wonderful. Is it going to break film history? Probably not. But it is still an enjoyable film in all of its magic and comedy. The yeti is adorable and lovable. The film did make me giggle, sometimes in its random bizarreness, others in its actual hilarity. The adventure is loving and full of meaning with the perfect amount of comedy.

Toy Story 4 (2019)

Is it all we’ve been waiting for while adding to the beloved Toy Story franchise? Or is it an ending that wasn’t necessary and Toy Story 3 was perfect as it was? One of these answers is a yes…

‘Toy Story 4’ brings back our favourite toys – Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Rex, Mr and Mrs Potato Head, Slinky, Jessie and Bullseye – the whole lot! As ‘Toy Story 3’ ended, in one of the most perfect endings of a trilogy I might add, the toys have been passed on to another little girl and Andy has moved on to college (emotions come flooding back…). With this new little girl, Bonnie, Woody and the toys are off on a road trip before their “kid” starts Kindergarten. Bonnie’s new attachment grows to one single toy, one particular toy that hasn’t actually been given to her from Andy, not one of the toys we love so dearly, but instead a toy the young girl made herself – Forky! A spork with wooden legs and pipe cleaner arms. But when Forky revives he hilariously just wants to be “trasshhh” instead, not a toy. Woody takes it upon himself to make sure Bonnie’s new favourite toy, Forky, is constantly by her side to keep her safe and always be there for her.

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Ok, so this was a good film. I did enjoy it. But was it all that it was cracked up to be? Sadly not. I feel ‘Toy Story 3’ ended too well, that nothing really could top it. With that, ‘Toy Story 4’ just becomes a film that doesn’t really feel attached to the original trilogy. It is no way near as good and it doesn’t seem to hold all the excellent qualities we loved from before.

I promise it’s not as bad as that though. As a film and maybe a side film of the franchise that is Toy Story, this fourth addition is a good film. I had a good giggle – although I didn’t find Forky as funny as it was made out to be. However, saying this, I did love the walking scene with him and Woody, that was enjoyable. Also, I really did like the ending, they did manage to capture that wholesome ending again, and that was definite in the beginning of the film as well, where it seemed to hold high hopes. The middle just felt a little lost, plus there’s some creepy dolls, which really are quite terrifying and I’m 22…

Toy Story 4 - toys

To sum up, ‘Toy Story 4’ as an adventure of Woody and Forky was enjoyable and had some of the great qualities of our loved classic toys. However, as a fourth ending to the already brilliant trilogy I don’t believe it made the cut. This film brings a lot of new characters, which is why it probably seems like such a different film. The once Bo Peep we knew of, is nothing to be recognised. Jessie was hardly present and I think I must have been Bullseye twice. Happily, the friendship between Buzz and Woody was celebrated once again, as the two favourites they remain great characters. Then, there’s a lot of other characters to bring in, including the creepy dolls and Forky. I did like the message of the film and I think that’s what made the wholesome ending acceptable. Finally, Woody’s reminiscing was very heart-warming which added to the beauty of the first three films. I would watch it again, it was a good giggle, but I think I would have rather the series stayed as it was with the perfect ending with Andy.

Stitch! The Movie (2003)

Lilo and Stitch in another film adaptation. Ohana is the soul of the film, as Stitch feels he has no ‘cousins’ and can’t belong in Hawaii. But all is about to change when Jumba is exposed with having stolen all of the other 625 experiments that were made before Stitch. Evil experiments I might add, as Stitch once was.

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I love this film. I used to watch it as a child all the time and remembering loving it! Happily, after watching it recently at the age of 22, I still found it funny, having a good giggle. It’s such a fun, easy-watching film. Stitch is adorable as ever and Lilo is even more determined in her persistent ways. She’ll do anything for Stitch and all Stitch wants are his cousins, the 625 other experiments. I used to be obsessed with learning about different experiments, I used to ask my cousin to draw me different versions of Stitch. So as you can tell, seeing the different experiments in this Disney Stitch movie, is a film of pure nostalgia and enjoyment.

‘Stitch! The Movie’ is classic Lilo and Stitch and classic Disney. There’s a new evil enemy in space, whose set his sights on Jumba. Hiring Gantu for his evil work, Nani and Lilo’s family are once again attacked by outer-space aliens. But as Lilo always is, she will never let Jumba be abducted by the evil Dr Hämsterviel, or Hamster Wheel as they comical call him. So an adventure begins where Lilo and Stitch team up together to travel to space to try and pull off another miracle as Cobra Bubbles calls it.

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You can tell more money was put into the original ‘Lilo and Stitch’, but you wouldn’t really expect any different, would you? ‘Stitch! The Movie’ is a fun sequel, to enjoy a little more of this adventure of a human and alien friendship. We meet the original characters, including the brilliance of Pleakley. Is it a masterpiece? No. Is it a classic to be remembered? Probably not. It’s an easy-watching film, that’s a guarantee for a good giggle and an enjoyable watch. If you love ‘Lilo and Stitch’, then this one is still fun to add to the collection of Stitch occurrences! I love it anyway.

How to Train Your Dragon 3: The Hidden World (2019)

I was so excited to hear that the fabulous Hiccup and Toothless were going to have a third movie. I absolutely love the first two movies, they are brilliant (if you wanted to read my reviews on them, the first is here, the second click here). The third ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ brings back our favourite Viking and Dragon for another adventure, but this one might not be so easily defeated when there’s a distraction flying through the air: that’s right, this Night Fury has found himself a Light Fury and it’s love at first sight.

How to Train Your Dragon 3 - Night and Light Fury

If you haven’t seen the first two films, I would definitely recommend watching those two first, as all the movies perfectly follow on from each other to make a conclusive great trilogy of Vikings and Dragons at their home, Burke. More problems arise in the third film as Dragon Trappers are still present and Hiccup (Jay Baruchel), as our new chief, is consistent in wanting to save them all. But once again a new enemy arises, Grimmel (F. Murray Abraham) and as all have before, he’s got his eyes set on the alpha dragon, Toothless.

To begin with, I watched the trailer and was immediately shocked by how much was in it! I thought it gave everything away, watching the whole film in the three-minute trailer as they say. But happily, there was more to the story than everything we were already told. I still think they could have kept some things a secret, such as the existence of the Light Fury (although all the advertising has been around this), or at least hide the tale of another Dragon Trapper. But anyway, they didn’t, and I still loved the film. So, rant over.

How to Train Your Dragon 3 - Hiccup and Astrid

This third film is more of a story for Toothless. I have to mention his flirting scene, because it had me in stitches, brilliantly hilarious as the Light Fury is at a complete loss at what is happening to this puppy-like Night Fury. Definitely my favourite scene of the whole movie. But amongst this story for Toothless is also a story for Hiccup. I love all the connections with Hiccup as it brings such a conclusive ending reflecting on the first film bringing in memorable moments. It was excellently, beautifully done to close a perfect trilogy. I don’t know if there is going to be a fourth film, but I kind of hope not because I don’t want it to ruin this fabulous collection of three.

How to Train Your Dragon 3 - Hiccup and Toothless

‘How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World’ is another journey for Hiccup and Toothless and it’s adored. It isn’t a let-down but just a continuous build on our favoured characters. Bringing back Gobber (Craig Ferguson), hilarious as ever as he starts to see “bad omen” dragons. Or even more of a build on one of the twins, Tuffnut (Justin Rupple), in his hilarious pride of a long beard. As you can probably tell I loved this film, it has hilarious moments, heart-warming ones, morals and just a perfect ending. Definitely worth a watch. Besides, Toothless alone is worth the watch any day!

Peter Rabbit (2018)

I love James Corden, but I’m a bit put off by the amount of animations he’s doing, his voice is so significant and recognisable I feel it destroys the character his voice is portraying. I feel this true to ‘Smallfoot’, although happily, it wasn’t too bad in ‘Peter Rabbit’. I actually enjoyed this film, even if I had my doubts.

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Based on the children’s books by Beatrix Potter, this movie follows the tale of Peter Rabbit (James Corden), a mischievous and rebellious rabbit and his family, cousin Benjamin Bunny (Colin Moody), and sisters, Flopsy (Margot Robbie), Mopsy (Elizabeth Debicki) and Cotton-Tail (Daisy Ridley). Even though this is an animation, the rabbits are so adorable! They are fabulous little creatures to watch a film based around. The story goes: Peter is adamant that old McGregor’s garden belongs to the wildlife, including all the vegetables he’s growing. However, it’s made slightly harder when a younger McGregor comes along, determined to keep the rabbits out with electric fences and explosives. A comical war begins. But that’s only further complicated when the rabbits’ strongest ally is influenced by this Thomas McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson).

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I really did enjoy this film, it’s fun and creative. I also love the connections to Beatrix Potter and the beautiful drawings of the classic rabbits and other wildlife. It’s not only the rabbits brought to life, of course we have the hedgehog and an hilarious pig, including a cockerel that truly got me laughing. Oh and I cannot forget the badger who cannot hide. They are all excellent characters with their own fun personalities that bring the tales to life. Benjamin Bunny has to be my favourite character, he’s trusty-worthy and character flaw of following Peter Rabbit no matter what is heart-warming. Additionally, there’s some brilliant tunes throughout. Why not give it a watch? It’s in a people world with animated wildlife brought to life from Beatrix Potter’s tales. An enjoyable story, fun but also meaningful.

Ice Age (2002)

The beginning of an epic unusual herd. And of course, one of the best squirrels to hit the screen. A squirrel who has the biggest love and obsession for an acorn. He appears throughout the film and hilariously explains global climate changes. Then there’s the main new herd: a pessimistic mammoth Manfred aka Manny (Ray Romano), a clumsy, hilarious sloth, Sid (John Leguizamo), and finally a saber-tooth tiger, Diego (Denis Leary), whose loyalties are mislaid. On a journey they never imagined, the individuals come together when they accidentally find a human baby.

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We are welcomed to the Ice Age on screen. And it’s enjoyable, adventurous and hilarious. Manny is a complicated character, wrapped up in his past, therefore stuck in a lone state. Although, he adapts a new follower, one he dislikes but one that nevertheless stays on his tail. This is the recreation of a similar relationship between Shrek and Donkey a year before. Sid the Sloth is hilarious, clumsy, proud of his uniqueness no matter how many tell him he should be ashamed. He is definitely the best character, in his hilarity and confidence. Then there’s the final animal to the herd, the one who we know is misleading the others. A saber-tooth tiger who is a character that builds among the film.

Ice Age - Manny and Diego

Many may know ‘Send Me on My Way’ from Matilda cooking pancakes, although I believe it should be a song remembered in this one too. A journey with adventures and many climate-related jokes. Comedy that reflects many years before. An adventure: one where the baby is hungry and they must find food, where Dodo’s start a fight over watermelons, one where they are constantly followed by other saber-tooth tigers, plus they have a fall down some ice, and so much more! It’s an enjoyable and hilarious film, comforting and makes you giggle throughout. I do believe it’s a bit underrated and it truly shouldn’t be, it should be remembered and loved as one of the great 2000 animations.

Ice Age - Sid

And we can always rely on returning to the squirrel and his silent or desperate screams of him never being able to bury his acorn. A squirrel that will make you giggle but also plead he gets all he wants. Then we throwback to our “weirdest herd ever”.

How To Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)

Almost five years on, another tale of Hiccup and Toothless has risen. Dragons have moved in on the Viking village as they live in peace – human and dragons. Everything Hiccup ever wanted. I must admit this progression of time is shown excellently, truly well, even if it’s only an animation. The characters are all grown up, from teens to young adults. Realistic in its false reality.

Now if you haven’t seen the first ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ I would recommend that to begin with: you can find my review on it here. They do not lead on from each other, as there is the four-year gap, however it would help for character recognition, especially with Hiccup and Toothless and their special bond. I think you’ll find this film much more satisfying if you did watch the beginning first.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 - Hiccup and Toothless

Everyone is back! Dean DeBlois as the original director, which I believe is always to be critical in a sequel. A change in director can ruin a sequel, it is extremely difficult to keep all the same great essences of the original film in a different director. So, I am happy to announce ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’ does have all the greatness the first one does. It is definitely up to standard of the first. It’s back with the same voices and the familiarity of our great characters. This film extends the development of so many characters, it is great to see, especially of Stoick (Gerard Butler) who you see in a completely different light.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 - Hiccup and Astrid

Our magnificent Night Fury is back, playful as a puppy and protective as a dog. Toothless’ hilarious attitude is back in familiarity as he becomes even more sassy and deadly serious when needed. He once again becomes so easy to read as a silent animal. Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) is as stubborn and adventurous as always. Gobber (Craig Ferguson), hilarious, always a character of comedy but loyal and trustworthy as well, his new dragon is brilliant as it reflects a similar personality. Additionally, Astrid (America Ferrera) and her bond with her dragon is hilariously great as they constantly play drop and fetch, even if with baddies.

A new problem has risen. And it is one full of action and adventure. One of complexities and different new characters. Hiccup is set in his stubborn ways of exploring the world on the back of Toothless, and on this adventure he crashes into two different types of people: the Dragon Trappers and the Dragon Riders. Hiccup is soon to befriend the Dragon Riders, as he discovers the leader is his mother (Cate Blanchett) who he was told died, this is where we see a completely loving side of Stoick, it really is magnificent. Then there’s the Dragon Trappers; a mysterious Drago Bloodfist (Djimon Hounsou) is creating a dragon army, determined to take all dragons, especially one particular Night Fury and his right-hand man Eret (voiced by ‘Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington) has been commanded to collect him.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 - Valka

As I said, this is a great second movie. Developing the characters and the bonds with dragons and humans even more. The film has great action and shocking tales as the adventure grows throughout the film. Dragons are under threat and our favourite dragon and human-friend are returning to try and save the day. Oh and you have to notice Hiccup’s plait, it does make me giggle.